I'm currently reading a biography on rock band R.E.M. In discussing the making of their most critised album, Around The Sun (an album that even the band thought was terrible), singer Michael Stipe commented "We didn't talk to each other for a couple of records - as friends or as bandmates."

The band wasn't interacting. Communication was poor. The result was animosity between the friends and creative results were far below their obvious collective talent.

The curious thing is that the biography also mentions that during the making of the album the band were having dinner together each evening as part of the recording process. They were together, but assumedly not having real conversations.

It can be an easy unfortunate habit to get into. You don't have much to talk about when you are together, so you set the bar low. Talking is kept light, uneventful, uninteresting.

It's a shame. Conversation can be vibrant, deep, interesting, revealing. Sometimes you just need the catalyst, the conversation starter. Before long, everyone at the table wants to get their two cents in, or their funny story, or their question.

Awkward Silence offer a wide variety of conversation starters at our shop at bargain prices. These could be the conversations that build up chemistry for life-long friendships, courtship or even the making of great albums.

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